Huami Magazine Charleston May/June 2022

Page 31

By Ellen Richardson Photos by Pamela Williams

As someone who has always enjoyed telling comeback stories, I have to say that I am excited to tell the story of Beacon Hill native Pamela Williams. This inspiring woman and current Founder and Executive Director of Beacon Hill Community Services, Inc. has spent her entire life giving back to others. “I grew up in a small community on the west side of Chicago Heights called Beacon Hill,” said Williams. “During my time growing up here, this community was so close-knit, and everyone took care of one another. My neighbors and I were so willing to give back to each other.” At the age of 16, Williams began serving as a tutor for the Community Education Service Center. “The organization purchased a home in Beacon Hill where they began a tutoring program and other educational services for young kids inside the community. I worked as a tutor for third and fourth graders who were struggling within our local elementary school, eventually moving to work within the social services realm. Unlike most teenagers, I never flipped burgers or worked in any of the traditional jobs that most teenagers do. Instead, I pursued jobs that allowed me to give back to my community.” Although Williams’ heart for her community would begin to pave a road toward a successful future, the newest heart of Beacon Hill would have to overcome what many of us do – a roadblock on the pathway of life. “I became a first-time mother at the age of 19, and by the time that I was 22-yearsold, I was an unwed single mother of three children. Those new responsibilities quickly plunged me into poverty,” said Williams. “I was on welfare, receiving Section 8 housing benefits and food stamps.” Despite being in a difficult situation, Williams continued to let her determination and faith in God lead her toward turning her life around for both herself and her three boys. This “never say die spirit” kept Williams on a challenging road for the next ten years and gave her the knowledge and experience that she would need to follow her God-given destiny. “For ten years, I was working menial/low-paying jobs such as answering phones and being a clerk typist. However, the benefit was that I stayed in the social services world. I may have been at the bottom of the ladder, but I took time to soak in everything that I could to learn about social services. That is where I received my boots on the ground education,” she says. After years of struggle and lack, she began to see things turn around. “At the age of 29, I wrote my first rent check, and things began to fall into place. I am so grateful to have gone through what I did because it allows me to relate to the people that I now serve. I’m not just talking the talk, but I’ve walked the walk. I now have empathy and compassion for people who struggle as I did. I can meet them where they are and provide them with the same help and compassion that I received while working my way up,” she shared. As Williams continued on her journey, she would eventually give birth to an organization that would give back to the same neighborhood that had once supported her. “I started Beacon Hill Community Services, Inc. on a whim,” said Williams. “I was only planning to have one event, but God had other plans.”

Charleston - May/June 2022